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Hay River groups want town money

Dave Sullivan
Northern News Services

Hay River (Oct 29/01) - Hay River property taxes could rise, but only if the town gives in to wish lists from community groups and businesses.

NNSL Photo

Hay River Councillors Vern Toppel, Tom Hamilton, Diana Ehman and Robert Bouchard listen to budget ideas at a sparsely-attended public forum. - Dave Sullivan/NNSL photo

The biggest request is from the Hay River and Area District Education Authority, which wants to split from the South Slave Divisional Education Council to form a separate school board. To do that the authority will need between $100,000 and $250,000 a year, says Chair Andrew Butler, depending on whether the territorial government supports the effort.

Town councillors will be busy sorting through that and other requests for a new budget being forged over the next few weeks.

The next biggest request is for $90,000 to re-revive a community radio station. Hub Publications also has a proposal. The newspaper wants the town to move advertising from a community cable channel to the weekly.

Steel tank maker King Manufacturing wants the town to move utility wires in it's industrial park, to make the company more competitive with southern fabricators.

A 'high load corridor' is "important for tenders," King spokesman Charlie Scarborough told a public forum on the budget.

Utility wires don't have to be moved when extra-big loads are hauled from Alberta to Hay River, but they must be moved when King wants to truck tanks from the industrial park to the adjacent highway.

Other funding requests are from the museum, family support centre and groups which organize stock car and jet boat races.

"A lot of people have been knocking on the door," Mayor Duncan McNeil told the poorly-attended forum. "All these things have a price tag."

Hay River homeowners pay $1,690 in annual taxes for homes assessed at $93,000.